A program that lets wealthy individuals live in the U.S. in exchange for investment is about to end, unless Congress decides to extend it or make it permanent. Though proponents say the arrangement helps to revive local economies, critics have called for tougher controls due to concerns the system could be exploited.
China is keeping close tabs on the debate, since Chinese "immigrant investors" form the largest group.
In 1990, Congress introduced the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program as a temporary measure to stimulate the economy through capital investment and job creation. Under the program, applicants are required to invest at least $1 million in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. -- or a minimum of $500,000 if the business is in a "targeted employment area." They must later show that they have created or preserved 10 full-time jobs for American workers. In return, the U.S. grants green cards to applicants and their family members.
In September 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a resolution extending the EB-5 program until the end of this month.
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